Footers Tapped as 2019 Small Business of the Year
The Denver Metro Chamber picks the caterer from three great choices
Small Business of the Year
Winner: Footers Catering
Footers Catering has been preparing menus and cooking on-site at events for more than 36 years. The second-generation family business serves more than 75,000 guests annually throughout Colorado, exhibiting an enviable company culture in the process.
“We feel so fortunate to have a rich history and tradition,” says Anthony Lambatos, co-owner along with his wife, April. The two bought the business from Anthony’s father, Jimmy, eight years ago.
“We want to recognize that history and be very proud of it, but we also want to look at how we can be better every single day,” Lambatos says. “Part of our mission statement is just that: ‘Make it better every day.’ Our team has really embraced the idea of making small improvements and being 1 percent better in all areas of our company. That’s led to some really amazing things, when you look back over one year, two years, five years.”
Finding workers in this low-unemployment environment is a challenge throughout the business community, and that’s been historically true in the hospitality industry, where high turnover is the norm.
Thus, April Lambatos says, “We’ve put a huge emphasis on retaining the talent we have. We’ve done that by really caring for and respecting every member of the Footers family. We really treat the whole person, not just the person when they’re at work. If they’re struggling personally, we want to help them address those things so they can fully show up when they’re at work, and if they’re struggling professionally, we want to help them with that so that it doesn’t bleed over into their personal life. We’ve been very fortunate to have an incredible team. They have welcomed new team members with open arms and created this amazing Footers family atmosphere, and that helps us retain new talent.”
That family atmosphere was evident four years ago when some Footers team members suggested a company-wide vacation.
“Are you kidding, really, a vacation?” Anthony recalls thinking. “You guys work together, and now you want to vacation together, too?” Nonetheless, the company subsidized part of the trip, and 20 people signed up. Fast forward to this year, and 35 team members signed up for a company vacation near Cancun, Mexico.
“Yes, it’s vacation and relaxation,” Anthony says. “But the bonding that takes place from a very informal level is phenomenal. We had people on the culinary team hanging out and talking with people on the sales team, building relationships that will come back when you’re in the trenches working together.”
Footers specializes in large, logistically complex events, with weddings making up about 40 percent of its business. Other assignments include corporate events, grand openings, launch parties, customer appreciation parties and employee appreciation parties. The company also caters about 15 nonprofit events a year, including annual fund-raisers and black-tie galas, which, Anthony says, “are awesome to be a part of and fill our hearts as well.”
It all adds up to more than 650 events a year in the Denver area and mountain communities. “We have an amazing team that puts on those events,” Anthony says. “We feel very fortunate to be part of life celebrations for many people.”
Polidori Sausage has been a family-owned and operated sausage manufacturer since 1925. The Denver-based company supplies restaurants around Colorado as well as larger outlets like Safeway, King Soopers and City Market, ensuring its all-natural products are available throughout the Rocky Mountain region.
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2019 Business Awards: Small Business of the Year Finalists from Denver Metro Chamber on Vimeo.